Jack and the Beanie

Once upon a time, there was a little boy named Jack whose parents were Polish immigrants.  Jack grew up to have a signature just like the icing on a Hostess cupcake. But he doesn’t wear a beanie.

Even though he’s an “orthodox” Jew.

Like everyone else with access to the boob tube, I watched President Obama announce the nomination of Jack Lew as secretary of the treasury. The entire time, I was craning my neck to see if Jack was wearing a yarmulke. ‘Is that his wavy hair,’ I wondered, ‘or could that just possibly be a circlet of black fabric?’

His hair or a yarmulke? Only his hairdresser knows for sure. (photo credit: AP/Susan Walsh, File)

I was pretty sure it was just his thick and wavy (typically Jewish) hair. ‘Darn,’ I thought.

I went through the same thing with Joe Lieberman, back when he ran for vice president in 2000. I heard he was “orthodox” and almost dislocated my neck every time he appeared on TV, looking for that skullcap.

Now I know there are dispensations for people to make modifications in their appearance for the sake of business or for safety reasons, but galldarnit, I really would have liked these guys, Jack and Joe, so much more, had they thrown caution to the winds to wear their yarmulkes.

Wait! Is that a, gasp, yarmulke?? (photo credit: Ron Kampeas/JTA)

Gentiles remove their hats out of respect. Jews cover their heads to acknowledge a life under God’s dominion. When my boys were little, if they forgot to don their skullcaps, I’d say to them, “Where’s your yirat shamayim*?”

It would be nice to have someone high profile unafraid to fear heaven. Ah well. Maybe it’s too much to ask: a signature just like the icing on a Hostess cupcake AND yirat shamayim.

*Fear of heaven


About the Author
Varda Epstein is a blogger and Communications Writer for Kars4Kids.org www.kars4kids.org